|Issue No 115||12 October 2001|
Jim Marr's World in Turmoil
Move over Blocker, you've been usurped, dethroned and pretty-much dumped as Rugby League's loosest lip.
The big Balmain bookend earned his title during a tour of New Zealand with the national side. Legend has it, he leaned across the bus, feasted his eyes on the bucolic outlook and uttered something to the effect of - "gee look at all those sheep, no wonder they've got so much bacon".
There are those, both inside and close to, that 1989 side who insist the Steve Roach story is apocryphal. That he never actually uttered the golden words but, being a prop, would have if he had thought of them.
Certainly, that touring party was more than partial to a peculiarly Kiwi version of bacon and egg pie. Pushed, in fact, most could think of little they liked about the host country with the exceptions of pig-based pastry and the female half of Rotorua's human population.
Now, after more than a decade at the pinnacle, Roach has been eclipsed by another graduate of the front-rower's school.
Melbourne's Robbie Kearns is the man in question and, unlike Roach, he cannot deflect credit because his words are set out, between quotation marks, on Page 34 of the Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday, October 9.
In the course of worrying about an all-expenses-paid footy trip to the UK, Kearns expressed his fears thus:
"Britain is obviously one of the world powers and they bombed the World Trade Centre, which is a landmark in itself, and over in Britain you've got Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower, which are big buildings, so to speak."
Bacon from pigs, the Eiffel Tower in Britain - likely slips of the tongue from young men more practised at ball handling than verbal expression.
In truth, they don't sound silly at all when compared with some of the ideas coming from those who administer the game.
Without doubt the dopiest currently doing the rounds is the mini-controversy over Andrew Johns' suitability for the Australian captaincy.
Apparently, donning a wig and getting drunk, even while celebrating grand final success, is incompatible with the characteristics expected of a Kangaroo captain.
What are these people on?
Johns is the best promotions vehicle rugby league has had since the civil war, by approximately the length of the Flemington straight.
It's hard to believe some people tut-tut when he hurls his mouthguard away in frustration; high fives team-mates in jubilation; or parties like he means it.
Don't they know that his is precisely the sort of heart-on-your-sleeve emotion the fans are crying out for.
Three things are apparent to everybody when Andrew Johns plays - he loves the game; hates to lose and wants to share success.
Never, ever, does a game appear to be another day at the office and that is probably why most unattached fans were mighty pleased his Knights gave the Eels a grand final touch-up.
Besides all this, he can play the game better than anyone since Wally Lewis and, possibly, a good deal before.
Without any disrespect to Brad Fittler, Johns' attitude and ability mean he should be captain now.
Sure, captaincy comes down to more than what you do on the field but, that said, it does not require the diplomatic or social skills that might be asked of the ambassador to Afghanistan.
Besides, you don't have to have that long a memory to recall the outfit putting question marks against Johns' character, sending sides overseas under the captaincy of noted charmers like Lewis and Bobby Fulton.
Excuse our French but there is only one response to the Johns controversy - Pig's Arse!
POLTROON - go and look it up - is a word we've been dying to use for years then, praise be to Allah, along comes Colin Love and our prayers are answered.
This week's decision to blow-up international Rugby League was a bombshell.
Don't blame Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Shane Webcke, Darren Lockyer or even Robbie Kearns and his Eiffel Tower complex. The buck stops with the leadership, or lack thereof, of the once courageous but now craven ARL.
Players are just that, they are not elected to run the game. The fact that a 19-5 player vote in favour of touring turned to a 12-12 split in the space of 24 hours showed there was plenty of room for leadership.
Put the decision of the ARL, so adept at using war imagery to sell its product, up against those of Australian women squash players competing in the middle east; Chelsea soccer club competing in Israel; even the Wallabies; and they don't look too smart.
Who loses out of this? Let's start with Rugby League, not least in Britain, and finish with footballers like Braith Anasta, Nathan Blacklock and Daniel Wagon, denied a prize they had earned.
Who wins? Well you'd have to say it's probably a Love game to international terrorism.
Interview: Connecting the State
NSW IT minister Kim Yeadon is the man responsible for enabling the people of NSW. Here's how he's doing it.
Workplace: The Enemy Within
In the IT industry it's the recruiters who are earning the workers' ire, as our special correspondent explains.
Unions: From the Virtual Coalface
Computer programmer Vince Caughley argues there is a place for unions in the IT industry.
History: Conditions Precedent
Frank Bongiorno writes that the recent events off the coast of Christmas Island recall a story once told by Paul Hasluck.
International: Victims of Terrorism
Repression against trade unionists on the increase world wide, with 209 trade unionists assassinated last year, reveals ICFTU 2001 Survey.
Campaign Diary: Week One: Get Shorty
Labor's first week of campaigning was as an effort to gain attention from a nation rocked by the telvised war on terrorism.
Economics: Global Alliances
Ray Marcelo reports from India that the ILO is arguing that globalisation needs a worker and employer alliance.
Health: The Phantom Menace
Trade unions made an impact this week at an international congress In Melbourne in the global fight against AIDS.
Review: Rings of Confidence
In his study on the 2000 Olympics, Tony Webb argues that the government and unions reached a new level of cooperation.
Satire: Greens 'Quietly Unconfident' of Forming Government
A leaked memo from a senior member of the Greens reveals the party is unconfident of winning government on November 10.
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